The Good Life in Nature A Exploration of the Florida Museum of Natural History - Chloe Gingerich

Photo Citation Above: Flower in the Butterfly Rainforest Exhibit. Florida Museum of Natural History. Personal photography by Chloe Gingerich. 18 February 2016.

Nature on Display

A Collection from the Butterfly Rainforest. Florida Museum of Natural History. Personal photography by Chloe Gingerich. 18 February 2016.

Nature is my favorite inspiration when I draw or paint. It is also my favorite photography subject. Often my profile pictures are of flowers from personal photography. I have painted the butterfly that is white with light blue and yellow before. This exhibit was the most appealing because I saw the butterflies in a simulation of their natural habitat. The bright, natural colors were especially appealing with raindrops and cool weather. The way the butterflies interacted with the beautiful surroundings made me feel relaxed and refreshed after the experience. What I love about butterflies and flowers are how fragile they are, but how bold the colors are. They are living art pieces.

I have visited other butterfly gardens. What is always better when I see them in person rather than in a picture, is appreciating the whole body of the butterfly. In pictures, only the wings are focused on. In person, the wings move and the body is sometimes as decorated as the wings. Seeing the wings move in person is also graceful. The weight of the butterfly on leaves also leaves a different impression than a dead, dried out butterfly. Seeing the individual scales on their and fur on their bodies helped me appreciate them as animals rather than artwork though.

Nature and Ethics

A Collection from the Butterfly Exhibit. Florida Museum of Natural History. Personal photography by Chloe Gingerich. 18 February 2016.

One of the most interesting parts of the exhibit is behind the scenes. The collection of butterflies was so large it looked like a warehouse for ancient artifacts covering many excavations. The dead butterflies on display with the netting were beautiful too. The incubation for butterflies was set up so everyone could see it and the caretakers could access them as well. At the end was a gift shop, butterfly wings were set into jewelry. For some people, these is inhumane and unethical. But the butterflies lived a long, more sheltered life than they would have and were humanely created into jewelry after death.

The way the butterflies were taken care of was very ethical, from egg to death. I was able to enjoy the experience after seeing how well the butterflies were taken care of and the freedom they had. I felt peaceful in the rainforest and enjoyed watching the butterflies collect nectar. At the same time, I was always on alert not to step on the butterflies by accident. Other people enjoyed the experience in the same way my friend and I did. They looked up and in the plants to find the butterflies. The connection with nature was very literal. We were right in front of the plants and butterflies. Butterflies flew in front of me and water ran underneath into the pond with Koi fish.

Nature and the Human Spirit

A Collection from the Frog Exhibit. Florida Museum of Natural History. Personal photography by Chloe Gingerich. 18 February 2016.

To begin this section, I would like to talk about the food I had at the Camellia Court Cafe. More than anything, I enjoyed eating a real burger outside the university. It was a way to step outside my normal sphere of living and enjoy a good meal. I felt like I was celebrating a special occasion. It was also nice to be able to sit in a real restaurant that I was served in. I enjoyed being able to talk with my friend to take time out of studying and reading. (Also, I was hungry when I wrote this paragraph.)

The reason the frog pictures are above instead of the butterflies is because I also explored the frog exhibit. I love frogs and insisted that we go in to my friend even after completing the butterfly exhibit. Frogs are one of my favorite animals, so I enjoyed the frog exhibit like a little kid going to a museum for the first time. This also enabled me to step outside my daily routine. It reminded me of when my parents took me to museums as a child. I also love poison dart frogs, so I enjoyed looking for their exhibit when I saw that there was a picture advertising them. At first, the blue poison dart frog looked fake it was so perfect, but after leaning down, I could see its throat move rapidly in and out.

Both the food and the frogs made my day. They gave me an appreciation for the museum and for times when I am not doing homework or writing good life discussions. They did not help me better understand who I was or give me a profound new sense of self, but they did provide some small amount of pleasure from taking a break. These are the pleasures that I enjoy and are part of my good life.

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